Are we ready for self-driving cars?

Ever since a man’s gut feeling resulted in rubbing two stones together and creating fire, humanity has been making advancements towards its betterment at a rate that’s only been beneficial. We’ve adapted to using machines in every aspect of our lifestyles. From households to offices to big firms, there isn’t a single place that hasn’t been touched by technology.

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But it doesn’t mean that the technological wave has been all rainbows and sunshine, and there haven’t been any diverse effects. You’d be surprised the amount of damage that gets pushed under the rug just for the sake of this wave of advancement to continue.

So, keeping that in mind, are you ready to put your life in the hands of a machine? First, let’s have a look at the facts.

The Arrival of self-driving cars era

We’re living in the year 2021, and self-driving cars were something that has been promised by various big names like Tesla, Honda, and even Google since 2018. Moreover, Tesla made a big show of announcing that their self-driving car would arrive in 2018, but it’s 2021, and it still hasn’t.

Which begs the question, why would it take so long?

The thing is, a self-driving car has to go through a lot of processes and multiple inspections. The program that needs to be written must be accurate, or else one bug can cost someone their life. The project is expansive, so it’s not something that can be achieved overnight.

Sure, there have been steady developments. The work is being done at a consistent pace. But the priority has been the safety of human lives. If a self-driving car fails to detect a living thing, whether it be a kitten or an actual human being, right across from it, then the whole point of a self-driving car is futile.

A look into behind-the-scenes

Artificial Intelligence plays a key role in the manufacturing of a self-driving car. In the past decade, AI has been extremely beneficial in resolving issues like translating ASL, providing digital personal assistants like Siri and Alexa or even streamlining social media and the works for better use. So far, AI has managed to achieve milestones that wouldn’t have been possible long ago.

So safe to say, if your life’s going to be in the hands of a machine, it might as well be AI, for you’ll probably have a better chance at surviving a car accident if there happens to be one.

AI is an extension of Machine Learning which means it learns by training and tuning it again and again. The engineers need to tackle the issue of navigating through the roads safely to perfect the AI for a self-driving car, and in order to achieve that, a bunch of datasets are needed. The engineers would require lots and lots of driving footage to teach their model how to drive.

Is it worth it?

Machines have continuously aided us in making our lives better. They’ve allowed us to save time, put in less effort and also have gotten us lazier as well. Like who wouldn’t mind getting driven home by their self-driving car after being burn out from work or getting hammered after a night out with friends.

Sure, if something goes wrong with the toaster, you might have to leave hungry or have to devour a burnt toast. But if your self-driving car acts up, a lot of things can go wrong. You would not only be putting yourself in danger but also all the people within the vicinity of your car, which stresses the need for the car to be absolutely well-tested.

Many poll results showed that most Americans would rather not risk their life at all compared to the ones who were absolutely willing to give the self-driving car a try. It’s not surprising, though. It’d make sense why you’d be more reliable on a hired driver rather than a robot-type machine to drive you to and from work, and even any UK Essay Help writer would agree.

Cut-throat competition

Let’s have a look at the evaluation factors that deem a self-driving car perfect to be used. The first factor being that of how many miles it can cover. Like any average car, the mileage is of high importance. Another factor is the number of disengagements which can be described as the moments in which a human has to take over the car themselves to avoid getting into an accident.

So far, the only company that has passed these metrics successfully has been Google’s sister company, Waymo, which managed to drive 200 million miles with 0.09 disengagements for every 1,000 miles. Ultimately leading Waymo to top the leaderboard for autonomic vehicles chart, closely followed by General Motors’ Cruise.

Other competitor cars include a self-driving grocery delivery car named Autox, Drive.ai’s automobile, and Zoox, all hailing from California. Basically, the autonomous vehicle industry has quite a bit of potential that can be tapped for valuable future use. Moreover, the fact that every big name wants to participate in the race will probably lead to favorable results in the near future.

AI invasion

If you’re an avid fan of Sci-Fi movies, you might hold a different stance when it comes to self-driving cars. After all, when you have deep-rooted fears that robots will take over mankind and make us their slaves, thanks to movies and TV shows, we’d like to say it’s not all wrong.

The use of robotic arms and delivery bots has already laid off many people from their routine jobs. According to a statistic, nearly 1.7 million people have been displaced since 2000. The fact that employing robots results in a productivity level rise and the work gets consistent doesn’t help humans keep their jobs either.

Moreover, AI-dependent models are likely to be more calculative and less emotionally involved when it comes to saving lives. Much like the depiction of the little girl and Del Spooner in the movie iRobot (2004), where both of them were drowning in the river. Still, the robot decided to save the latter because Spooner had a higher survivability rate. Based on that, you can say reality is often disappointing.

Disasters that need to be averted

In March 2018, the worst thing in the history of autonomous vehicles happened. A 49-year-old is run over by a self-driving car of Uber, proving that we’re not ready for it. According to the accident reports, multiple factors were the cause of the accident, primarily, how the ultra-sonic sensors and near-range cameras were not active.

The accidental death serves as a reminder that a self-driving car has a lot of room for improvement, and unless it is without fault, it must not be allowed on public streets. A self-driving car needs to detect even a cat on the road, as depicted in the Korean drama, Start-up, which is understandably fictional work but stresses the importance of the safety precautions of a self-driving car nonetheless.

All in all, this is our take on self-driving cars. Whether or not they become a part of your daily lives that remains to be seen. So let us know what you think about them. Do they deserve a place amongst the living or not?

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